Water Quality Management
In order to keep the health of any aquaculture system at an optimal level, certain water quality parameters must be monitored and controlled. Some of these parameters that most directly affect the health of the system are pH and alkalinity, hardness, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus). This page has been included to provide you with some background information for managing your system's water quality.
A pH meter
pH is the scientific way to express the number of H+ ions in water. As you most likely know, the pH of pure water is 7. However, many sources of water have a low pH, meaning they are acidic. These often range from 4.5-6.5, due to weak acids from the soil leaching into the water. If the water becomes too acidic, it will not be able to support the growth of plants, fish, or invertebrates. For this reason, water's pH should be monitored for declining pH. This monitoring may be done in several ways, through titration, pH paper, or pH probes. A low pH usually requires ongoing treatment, most commonly by adding agricultural lime (calcium carbonate, calcite, CaCO3), quick lime (calcium oxide, CaO), dolomite (CaMg (CO3)2), or builder's lime (Ca(OH)2).
pH paper test strips Water may become too alkaline (basic - a high pH) although this is much less common that low pH. Fish can't live at pH levels above 11. Ammonium Sulfate has
Fish and higher invertebrates are very efficient at removing oxygen from the water using their gills and they need to be. The amount of oxygen the water can hold depends on the water's properties. usually at least partially dissolved in the water. increasing to up to 211-500 ppm for very hard water. Some calcium is necessary in aquaculture systems as it is needed for strengthening the bones of fish and the shells of crustaceans. there are at least 5 criteria to be observed which will affect the ability of the water to hold oxygen. oxygen in produced by plants using sunlight. Hardness is generally used to express the total concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in fresh water. which is nearly pure. The more dissolved material in the water. For example. is the need aquatic organisms in any system have for oxygen. There are many products currently available for quickly checking DO. Soft water has 0-55 ppm. since water only holds a small percentage of the 20% of oxygen that makes up the atmosphere on earth. These 5 are:
. As you know. which is known as the biological oxygen demand (BOD). so if phytoplankton or plant populations are present in your culture. Closely related to DO.been suggested to treat high pH. Return to Top
Dissolved Oxygen (DO)
A dissolved oxygen meter All organisms grown in aquaculture need oxygen dissolved in the water in order to survive. Many biologists accept 6 ppm as the minimum concentration of DO needed to support fish life. your oxygen levels will be lowest at night. increasing the temperature and the salinity of water will decrease the water's ability to hold oxygen. Dissolved oxygen in aquaculture is one of the most critical parameters. Aeration devices are used in aquaculturee due to the high BOD levels in most systems as a result of high density stocking of the cultured organism and the high use of oxygen by bacteria breaking down wastes in the system. When using aeration devices to decrease the BOD (or to increase the DO). using test kits or probes. measured in parts per million (ppm) of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Return to Top
All natural water is made up of more than just water. but this should be dome with caution since it tends to produce toxic by products. The softest water then is distilled water. it also has many compounds in them. the harder the water is.
4. oxygen will enter faster than if the water is already saturated with oxygen. This Temperature varies between species. However. This is a toxic compound when its concentration in the water becomes elevated. 3. Temperature can be continuously monitored with a temperature probe or a low tech thermometer. and is found as a building block of amino acids in proteins. one liter of air making 10 large bubbles has less bubble surface area than one liter making 10000 bubbles. but always represents the temperature at which aquatic species can focus energy on growth and not on staying water to stay alive.the higher the temperature. especially when transporting fish should be avoided. the sought after temperature is the optimal growth temperature. The nitrogen cycle shows how bacteria in the system can adequately break down ammonia into the more usable and less
. the form of nitrogen excreted by animals is most commonly ammonia (NH3). In managing aquaculture systems. the less oxygen can be held in water. Temperature . especially if this occurred in their natural habitat. A large enough surface area of oxygen/water contact to allow exchange. Salinity . it is easy to see the importance of temperature in your system. Two of the most important of these nutrients are nitrogen and phosphorus. the temperature is usually kept somewhere below the optimal growth temperature due to other potential hazards associated with high heat. In actual aquaculture systems. so with the smaller bubbles more oxygen would dissolve into the water. 5. Return to Top
These refer to molecules in the water that can be used as nutrients for plants and phytoplankton. With this strong dependence on the temperature of the surrounding environment keeping the fish within the temperature range where they can survive. Fish are able to withstand some gradual changes in temperature. It is most commonly found as nitrogen gas (N2) in the atmosphere. but large changes in temperature.5o C (1o F) higher than the temperature of the water it is in. The oxygen gradient between the water and air. For example. os if there is little oxygen in the water. The amount of air coming in contact with water. Return to Top
Generally speaking.the higher the concentrations of dissolved salts.1. any fish's body temperature is about 0. so there must be an adequate amount of oxygen present. Nitrogen is used by organisms in many chemical reaction. the less oxygen can be held 2.
Approximately 70% of freshwater is consumed byagriculture. Solid (ice) Vapor Liquid •3. Importance of Water To function properly. chemical. Water Quality •2. and aesthetic characteristics of water which determines its fitness for a variety of uses and for protecting the health and integrity of aquatic ecosystems. and a gaseous state (water vapor or steam).as it functions as a solvent for a wide variety ofchemical substances and facilitates industrial coolingand transportation. In typical usage. but the substance also has a solidstate (ice).
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•1. an intermediate in the nitrogen cycle). and nitrate can be tested for using test kits. This cycle is also alluded to in the discussion of biofiltration on the startup page. biological. Another general perception of water quality is that of a
. which explains the removal of nitrogen from the system.toxic form of nitrate (NO3).Water plays an important role in the world economy. water refersonly to its liquid form or state. but these affects aren't a critical as high levels of ammonia. Ammonia.Different bodies of water provide livelihood andeconomic security to different countries. Water is a common chemical substance that is essential for thesurvival of all known forms of life. This can cause the release of toxins and raise the BOD of the system. man needs at least 8 glasses of water daily. Water Quality Water quality is the physical. •4.
An ammonia test kit Phosphates are less of a threat to aquaculture farmers since the largest problem associated with high phosphorus and limited nitrogen is cyanobacteria blooming. nitrite (NO2.
clay) or the crevices or fractures in rocks. 19 are considered major river basins. lake. Department of Works and Sewerage System (DWSS). The problem is that there are too many policies and laws about water quality that some of them are not implementedand monitored properly.97% saltwater (oceans and seas) . and ground water. aquifers. use of water bodies as a heat sink. Aside from being a source of food and livelihood. •7. manufactured products. industrialpollution.4% glaciers and polar ice caps . Marine water encompasses coastal and oceanic water. Large bodies of water separated three major island groups: Luzon. and Mindanao. and coastal and oceanic waters. Visayas. Water Quality in the Philippines Water quality protection and operation and maintenance of sanitation facilities are a collaborative undertaking of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). saturation zones. To answer the growing problems of water quality
. and water-bearing rocks. This includes the aeration zone. lakes. Water quality depends on the local geology and ecosystem. as well as human uses such as sewage dispersion. A very small amount of the Earths water is contained withinwater towers. Inland fresh water includes rivers. •8.100 islands. Water resources in the Philippines include inland fresh water. •5. Philippine’s Water Resources The Philippines comprises more than 7. and some agencies have unclear and overlapping mandates. Department of Health (DOH).6% other land surface water such as rivers. gravel.simple property that tells whether water is polluted or not.0. biological bodies.2. and food stores. There are 421 principal river basins. Fishing is one of the major industries of the country. lakes. and ponds Ground Water – all water that saturates the tiny spaces between alluvial material (sands. Water Resource Surface Water is: . silt. and overuse (which may lower the level of the water). water source plays an important role in other industries and domestic households. the main source of fish and other aquatic plants and animals. SOURCES OF WATER &WATER QUALITY CLASSIFICATION •6. capillary water.
respectively. The Philippine government aims to maintain the quality of its surface waters according to their best beneficial use. As people flock into the metropolis and build homes.e. Clean water should be the priority. Fifty-eight percent of ground water wells that were sampled were contaminated with coliform. and bays) for beneficial use. Categories The parameters for water quality are determined by the intended use.. The coastal areas are densely populated thus causing water pollution. i. Water contamination contributes to low water quality resulting in water pollution. which classifies bodies of water according to the degree of protection required. •12. and Class SB ( for coastal and marine waters) for recreation. This is embodied in the DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No.severalinvestment projects were done to monitor and ensure safe water. Saltwater intrusion was mapped based on National Water Resources Board (NWRB) data. Work in the area of water quality tends to be focused on water that is treated for human consumption or in the environment. Quality of Philippine Water Resources Over half of the Philippine rivers that were classified have lower quality and cannot be used for drinking unless treated. For Coastal and Marine Waters (as amended by DAO 97-23) •10. water quality problems arise. and D and SD waters have the least stringent water quality for fresh surface water and marine waters.
. Class AA and SA have the most stringent water quality for fresh surface waters and marine/coastal waters. Other hot spots were identified and rated on the basis of the objective of recovering the water quality of surface waters (rivers. lakes. This is the result of urbanization. •9. Class A (for fresh surface waters) for drinking. Hot spots areas of surface water quality were assessed by province using Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) as parameters. The surface and ground water quality shows the problem is getting severe in urban and coastal areas. Groundwater quality was assessed by using Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and Coliform. Philippines’s main source of water is rainfall. 34. •11.
rafting. and accessible) supply must be available to all. Modern water quality laws general specify protection of fishable/swimmable use and antidegradation of current conditions. Nevertheless. and oceans. magnesium) Microorganisms such as fecal coliform bacteria (Escherichia coli). or pre-industrial conditions. Ambient water quality standards vary significantly due to different environmental conditions. chloride.•13. and a satisfactory (adequate. Water is essential to sustain life.
. •16. Improving access to safe drinking-water can result in tangible benefits to health.) Dissolved organics: colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM).Water . For Human Consumption or Drinking-Water World Health Organization has set the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality of which the primary purpose is the protection of public health. viral. Given the landscape changes in the watersheds of manyfreshwater bodies. Current environmental laws focus of the designation of uses and therefore allow for some water contamination as long as the particular type of contamination is not harmful to the designated uses. Human Consumption or Drinking. ecosystems. rivers.Parameters Alkalinity Color of water pH Taste and odor Dissolved metals and salts (sodium. etc.Toxic substances and high populations of certain microorganisms can present a health hazard for non-drinking purposes such as irrigation. swimming. Cryptosporidium. an appreciable number of serious health problems may occur as a result of the chemical contamination of drinking water. pertains to water bodies such as lakes. protozoan. These conditions may also affect wildlife which use the water for drinking or as a habitat. arsenic. calcium. and industrial uses. Environmental Water Quality Environmental advocates express desires to return water bodies to pristine. •14. and Giardia lamblia Dissolved metals and metalloids (lead. safe. or other biological) contamination. dissolved organic carbon (DOC) Radon Heavy metals •15. fishing. Environmental Water Quality Also called ambient water quality. The great majority of evident water-related problems are the result of microbial (bacteriological. mercury. manganese. potassium. and intended human uses. boating.
Chlorine is the usual disinfectant. •17. Components of Water Quality Chemical Aspect Chemical contamination of water sources may be due to certain industries and agricultural practices.Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) . Chronic health effects are
. Coliforms are not appropriate direct indicators because of the greater resistance of these protozoans to inactivation by disinfection. fecal coliforms. there is the potential that they may cause either acute or chronic health effects.Conductivity . and physical aspects) & MEASUREMENTS •19. •21. odor. •18.returning to pristine conditions would be asignificant challenge. Unfortunately. Chemical Properties .Chemical oxygen demand (COD) . oil content. Most common among the pathogenic protozoans are Entamoeba and Giardia. biological. the primary indicator of which are coliform bacteria that are present in the feces of warm-blooded organisms. Environmental Water Quality – Parameters Physical Properties Color.Pesticides Biological Properties Bacteriological parameters: coliforms. It should also not contain bacteria that would indicate excremental pollution. against all organisms. and viruses. COMPONENTS OF WATER QUALITY (microbial. Species of protozoa can be introduced into water supply through human or animal fecal contamination. specific pathogens. environmental scientists focus on achieving goals for maintaining populations of endangered species and protecting human health. •20. turbidity. Components of Water Quality Biological Aspect Parasitic protozoa and helminths are also indicators of water quality. Components of Water Quality Microbial Aspect Drinking water should not include microorganisms that are known to be pathogenic. temperature. solids (residues). or from natural sources. and grease content.Orthophosphate . chemical.pH . In these cases. When toxic chemicals are present in drinking water. as currently used.A single mature larva or fertilized egg of parasitic roundwormsand flatworms can cause infection when transmitted to humans through drinking water. it is not fully effective. as it is readily available andinexpensive.Dissolved oxygen (DO) .Nitrate .
though odors may result from many factors. toxic effects associated with
. Na. •22.0 – 6.g. preserved.5 and 8. and analyzed at anotherlocation (e. or the "potential of hydrogen". Water tastes sour. pH. The main significance of pH in domestic water supplies relates to its effects on water treatment. and odor of water can be monitored. Cu. Measurement #1 pHThe pH of a water does not have direct health consequencesexcept at extremes: . Fe. On the pH scale of 0 . Taste problems relating to water could be indicators of changes in water sources or treatment process. •23. Water Quality MeasurementThe complexity of water quality as a subject is reflectedin the many types of measurements of water qualityindicators. taste.more common than acute effectsbecause the level of chemicals in drinking water are seldom high enough to cause acute health effects." Readings below 7 indicate acidic conditions. since coloration may be due to the presence of colored organic matter. color. Measurement #1 pH pH. This measurement indicates the acidity or alkalinity of the water.Drinking water should be colorless.14. •24.Organic substances also cause water odor. •25. especially where disinfection is practiced.At pH 4. is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions in the water.0. Components of Water Quality Physical Aspect The turbidity. Some measurements that can be made on-site are temperature. andconductivity. Turbidity should always be low.0. while readings above 7 indicate the water is alkaline or basic. Naturally occurring fresh waters have a pH range between 6.More complex measurements that must be made ina laboratory setting require a water sample to becollected. microbiological tests). a reading of 7 is considered to be "neutral. and how they can be utilized by aquatic organisms.. severe danger of health effects due to dissolved toxic metal ions are expected. and Zn are generally detected by the taste of water.pH <4. . Inorganic compounds such as Mg. dissolved oxygen. Ca. High turbidity can inhibit the effects of disinfection against microorganisms and enable bacterial growth. The pH of the water is important because it affects the solubility and availability of nutrients.5. including biological activity and industrial pollution.
are likely to occur. since it directly influences the amount of dissolved oxygen that is available to aquatic organisms. . The ability of water to hold oxygen in solution is inversely proportional to the temperature of the water. and is expressed in mg/L. or breakdown of organic matter in the streams. Salmonids. This component in water is critical to the survival of various aquatic life in streams. For example.0 mg/L The Philippines standard is 5 mg/L •27. measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L). . Common standard for water is that DO is at 8. Measurement # 2Dissolved Oxygen (DO) Dissolved oxygen is the amount of oxygen dissolved in water. prefer waters of approximately 12 to 14
.At pH 9.0 – 11. Water tastes soapy.0.At target water quality range of 6. Philippines standard for BOD in water is not more than 5 mg/L •28. the more oxygen is used for aerobic oxidation. expressed in degrees Celsius (C). Water tastes bitter.0 – severe danger of health effects due to deprotonated species.0 to 9. for example. including lead. the probability of toxic effects associated with deprotonated species increases sharply. Measurement #3 Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) Biological Oxygen Demand is a measure of how much oxygen is used by microorganisms in the aerobic oxidation. This measurement is obtained over a period of five days.dissolvedmetals.0. the more dissolved oxygen it can hold. Surface Water Class A and Coastal and Marine Water Class SB DO mg/L BOD mg/LSatisfactory (S) >5 Satisfactory (S) <5Marginal (M) 5 Marginal (M) 5Unsatisfactory (U) <5 Unsatisfactory (U) >5Minimum 5 Minimum 5Requirement Requirement •29. such as fish. . Temperature is a critical water quality parameter. Water tastes slightly sour.At pH>11. This depletes the amount of dissolved oxygen available to other aquatic life.Treatment option would be the addition of an acid or an alkali. •26. Usually. Measurement #4Temperature Temperature is a measure of how cool or how warm the water is. the cooler the water temperature. Water temperature that exceeds 18°C (for Class A Waters) has a deleterious effect on several fish species in streams. no significant effects on health are expected. the higher the amount of organic material found in the stream.
It is the amount of solids suspended in the water. Measurement #8Fecal Coliform Bacteria Fecal coliform bacteria are microscopic organisms that live in the intestines of all warm blooded animals. and Mg. This measurement is expressed in microsiemens per centimeter (uS/cm) at 25°C. suphate.degrees Celsius. Standard is 5 NTU’s •33. •31. nitrate. •32. It is a measure of the light scattering properties of water. and one widely used measure is the presence and abundance of members of
. Measurement #7 Turbidity Turbidity is a measure of the clarity of the water. The more ions present. Turbidity is measured in Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU). The target water quality range is 0 – 70. Environmental Water Quality –Biological Assessment Biological monitoring metrics have been developed in many places. it is routinely used as an estimate of the TDS concentration. K. chloride. Standard Fecal Coliform Bacteria is 100 organisms per 100 mL •34. and is an indirect measure of the ion concentration. Measurement #5Conductivity Conductivity is the ability of the water to conduct an electrical current. Na. the more electricity can be conducted by the water. thus an increase in the amount of suspended solid particles in the water may be visually described as cloudiness or muddiness. TDS is expressed in (mg/L) with target water quality range of 0 – 450 mg/L. The measurement is expressed as the number of organisms per 100 mL sample of water (#/100mL). The TDS concentration is directly proportional to the electrical conductivity of water. •30. bicarbonate. Measurement #6Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Total dissolved solids is a measure of the amount of particulate solids that are in solution. Ca. Since conductivity is much easier to measure than TDS. It can be in the form of minerals or organic matter. and in animal wastes or feces eliminated from the intestinal tract. Fecal coliform bacteria may indicate the presence of disease-carrying organisms which live in the same environment as the fecal coliform bacteria. such as that of carbonate. This is an indicator of nonpoint source pollution problems associated with various land use practices.
wet detention ponds •38. cultivated farmland *** Fertilizer on agricultural. industrial areas. runoff from livestock operations. the greater the number of taxa from these orders. an individual can use this biological indicator to get a general reading of water quality (such as the benthic macro-invertebrate indicator key). residential. SOURCES OF CONTAMINATION •36. wildlife. animal waste. within a region. Sources of ContaminationFailing septic tanks. commercial and recreational lawns. Flocculation – the addition of chemical reagents (flocculants) to bring small particles together in flocs through the process of coagulation. Means of Treatment Coagulation – the separation or precipitation of particles in a dispersed state from a suspension resulting from their growth. or from a condensation reaction between a solvent and solute. This may result from the addition of an electrolyte (coagulant). urban stormwater runoff. such as water softening. •35. organic matter. or biochemical reaction of fine suspended particles. effluent from aquaculture facilities.the insect orders Ephemerontera (Mayfly). animal wastes. aggregation. leaking sewers and septic tanks. prolonged heating. usually on a solid medium and is used in water treatment.
. Plecoptera (Stonefly) and Trichoptera (Caddisfly) Generally. tree removal along streams. atmospheric deposition. MEANS OF TREATMENT •39. leaky sewers and septic tanks. the better the water quality. Without the laboratory scale analysis. streambank erosion and alterations. runoff from impervious areas. disinfectants (chlorine). automobilefluids. illegal dumping. accidental spills. disturbed land areas. Sources of Contamination Construction and mining sites. animal waste •37. municipal wastewater ***Pesticide applications. illegal dumping ***Hydrological modifications that influence the amount of fresh or saline waters entering a system *** Heated landscape areas. industrial effluent ***Wastewater effluent.Ion exchange – the interchange of ions of like charge. improperly disinfected wastewater effluent *** Salt applications to snow and ice *** Leaky automobiles.
and taste-producing gases or vapors . WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT •43. Electodialysis – the process of selective diffusion through a membrane conducted with the aid of an electromotive force applied to electrodes on both sides of the membrane. Itcontinues to be a serious problem for human health and it is causing widespread negative environmental effects. or silver ions. hydrogen sulfide. This concern is based on the fact that water qualitydegradation is so severe in many Asian countries that it is placing serious constraints on economic growth.for various beneficial use.Aeration – a process of exposing water to air by dividing thewater into small drops. chlorination. Filtrations/ultra-filtrations – ex. UV light. and regulating and enforcing programs to accomplish the planning goals. Water Quality Management The United Nations. using activated alumina. treatment.permeable membrane which prevents passage of other ions. and law and regulations dealing with the water pollution control.for the provision of adequate wastewater collection.
. It is used to add oxygen to water and toremove CO2.Distillation – the process of producing gas or vapor from a liquid by heating the liquid in a vessel and then collecting and condensing the vapors into liquids. Boiling – to kill some bacteria. Water Quality ManagementWater quality management is the planning for theprotection of a water’s quality . by forcing air through the water.•40. ozonation. use of potassium permanganate. •41.for activities that might create water quality problems. . Reverse Osmosis – a technique in the desalination of water in which pressure is applied to the surface of the saline solution.Adsorption – ex. •42. forcing pure water to pass through a semi. activated carbon or activated carbon (GAC). in its recent examination of global water scarcity (1997) identified water quality as one of the key concerns in Asia in the next century. and . Means of Treatment Disinfections – to kill living organisms (ex. A bed of sand or pulverized coal. •44. Means of Treatment Ozonation – disinfection using ozone. and disposal of municipalities and industries. or through a matrix of fibrous material supported on a perforated core. or bycombination of both.
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